Sunday, April 14, 2013

Part 45 - Junk Food

With my resupply package, I now had enough food to get me to my next resupply point at Kennedy Meadows – 136 miles and seven and one-half days away.  What I didn’t have in my resupply box was junk food, but that problem was quickly rendered moot by a quick trip to the grocery store located across the street and through the parking lot.  Within a half hour, I was back in my room with a six-pack of chocolate pudding that I consumed at one sitting, a quart of chocolate milk, a box of Chips Ahoy!, and a bag of Red Vines licorice.  They, too, didn’t last through the night.

At four in the morning, I was dressed and ready to get back on the trail.  Ted said that the best place to get a hitch out of town would be at the Oak Creek Road on-ramp to the overpass that crossed over the main highway going through Mojave. 

Denny’s Restaurant just happened to be next to the on-ramp, so I headed there for breakfast first before trying to get a ride out of town.  My breakfast selection was the Lumberjack, the biggest breakfast item I could find on the menu.  It was okay; I liked the syrup on the pancakes the best.  The power went out in the restaurant just as I was about to pay my tab, thus, the computerized cash register wouldn’t work, and I had to pay with cash, which reduced my emergency funds a bit.
I left my motel room early as I wanted to be the first hitchhiker at the on-ramp.  By 5:00 a.m., I was standing there with my thumb out; it was just beginning to get light and the traffic was sparse.  After an hour, I was still standing there.  A lot of traffic went by, mostly workers going to their jobs at the wind farms, and they didn’t stop because they weren’t going as far as I need to go.

 In disgust, I left my post at the on-ramp and walked back to the Motel 6, intent on calling Ted, the trail angel, for a ride back to the trailhead.  He had told me the day before that for five dollars he would give rides back to the trail, but because I had wanted to leave so early, I hadn’t thought it proper to call him.  Now, at 7:00 a.m., I gave him a call, and told him that I’d pay him ten dollars for a ride.  He said he’d be there in twenty minutes, and he was. 

As we drove west back towards the trailhead, Ted told me about the wind turbines.  He said each turbine can produce enough electricity to meet the power needs for six hundred households for a year, all of which is sent to Southern California.  The optimum rotating speed of the giant propellers is 33 miles per hour, and at 45 miles per hour automatic braking systems will shut the rotors down.  

“The problem with spinning too fast,” he continues, “is the vibration harmonics that set up, which have the potential to destroy these massive machines.” 

“How,” I asked, “did the construction workers place the enormous engine houses and propellers atop the tower columns?”  

“With cranes,” he answered.  

“When the wind farms were being constructed in 2010, giant cranes, some of the biggest ever built, were used to lift the sections of the towers in place, after which the engine houses containing the gears and generators were placed on top of the towers, followed by the rotor containing the three props.”  

And my last question was, “How high are these towers?”  Ted thought a minute, then replied,
“Somewhere between 260 feet to 345 feet, depending on which type of tower is needed for the wind conditions in this area.”  

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